Best Approach To Becoming An Effective Wine Hopper And Enjoy The Experience


Install NC Wine Hopper Android iOS Install VA Wine Hopper Android iOS

There is no need to do anything, especially in your spare time, if you gain no pleasure from it. Many people enjoy traveling to new places and getting to know new people. Many of those also enjoy experiencing new and unique wines from different areas of their state or country. This would be the reason that we created Wine Hopper Mobile Apps.

First, let’s consider an important question. Do you need someone else to help plan a wine hopper vacation? Certainly not. Begin with the resources provided in the VA Wine Hopper and NC Wine Hopper apps. These will allow you to search for wineries, shops and restaurants (serving that state’s wines) within a county or region. Once you know the general area you will be staying, choose a winery and use the “location to destination” search to discover places around that specific location. Yes, this can be done from the comfort and convenience of home.

When you have arrived at a destination and want to bring the search even closer, search 10/25/50 miles from your current location. This feature is really handy for spur-of-the-moment wine hopping visits.

Before visiting wineries, shops or restaurants, you should learn all about them. For this important step, start by loading up the Wine Hopper app on your phone or tablet. Once you have a list of places to visit, take a look at their web, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube pages.

Now that you are impressed with the promotion presented by the business, it is time to find out how well they impressed others. We use the Wine Hopper mobile app to see the reviews left by those visitors on Google Maps, Yelp and Tripadvisor.

Using our app on your mobile device, you can be truly prepared for an enjoyable wine hopping experience. Have a wonderful time! Note that Link Em Up LLC and Wine Hopper Mobile Apps are not responsible for the use or misuse of the social media and review sites included in the app.

Our Database Is Growing (sadly shrinking soon by one)

Let’s start with the bad news first – Adams Family Vineyard is closing at the end of June. We learned this on one of our recent wine hopping trips which began at Adams and included Cloer. Good news there, though, Pam and Tam are enjoying the winery and the crowds that gather for tastings and events in Apex.

Yes, our database is actively being updated as we hear of new wineries opening and winemakers who are retiring (closing up shop). Wine Hopping for this weekend produced many new contacts and the addition of quite a few restaurants and shops. The contact page is working as designed with the addition of Pleb Urban winery today at the request of Lauren.

Have you come across a winery that we don’t have in the NC Wine Hopper app? Were you in a restaurant or shop that sells NC wines? If it is a “local joint” that sells NC wines, we want to list it. Feel free to help us grow the app, while spreading the word to all of your friends, followers (and even enemies) so we can turn average wine dabblers into NC wine hoppers.

NC Wine Hopper, Thanks For The Suggestions

ncwinehopper card

And thanks for the patience also. I had a couple of people expect some kind of activity indicator while things were loading. As the programmer of the app, it didn’t really bother me to watch for 20+ seconds while the Piedmont region loaded. Others took the white screen as a program lock up. Now an activity spinner has been added so that you know that something is going on.

I was also told of a few counties that were entered incorrectly. Thanks for the feedback.

Up next, I have plans to add NC Wine trivia and a distance selection for loading wineries. The database and screen design work for the trivia will probably be much lighter than the routines required to calculate distance, but both are in the works.

Download, use and enjoy your NC Wine Hopping trips.

Excellent News for iPhone Users

Apple cares about your security! You knew this already from recent news coverage that they won’t even give the federal government access to a confiscated iPhone.

North Carolina wineries also care about your security. There are 143 wineries, restaurants and shops listed in the NC Wine Hopper app and 77 of them have a secure site. For those without a quick mental math approach, that is more than 50%. If you are not up-to-date on current technology, it is time for a bit of a high level explanation.

If you are browsing a site and do not see HTTPS in the address bar, it will display HTTP instead,

HTTPS means that it is a secure site. Notice the green lock on the left side. But what does this really mean? Well, it means that all communications with that site (sent to and received from) are verified (yes, even the pictures). Have you sent a contact form or ordered a product from a web site and then received strange emails and other things that were totally unrelated? Maybe the site wasn’t truly secure!

Here is an analogy that I have heard regarding secure web sites.

Think about your home with the locks and doors that were installed for your security. In this day and time we wouldn’t dream of leaving the house unlocked overnight. When visiting a web site you should experience as much security as possible in this online world.

If you are an iPhone user on the NC Wine Hopper app, you will notice that some web sites will load in the app browser while others will display a message instead. Apple will only allow apps on the app store to load secure sites, and regular web browsers are also moving in that direction. Once non-secure sites are rejected by all browsers, many businesses that haven’t invested in a secure site will no longer have a web presence.

Now, it is time to perform due diligence for our parent company. If you are one of those remaining 66 wineries, restaurants and shops without a secure site (or anyone with technology assistance needs), Link Em Up LLC can help. We can assist in purchasing an SSL certificate to apply to your current site, redesign your site with a secure certificate and even host your site ourselves. Email if you need assistance.

Duplin Winery, Our First and Most Memorable Winery Experience duplin post

We all have a first – first kiss, first time on a motorcycle, and first winery visit tour and experience. That first time tends to set a memorable, high standard for others to strive for. In our case, that was Duplin Winery and Bistro in Duplin County.

We started with a most interesting tour of their wine producing facilities. One highlight of that tour included the science and facts behind the health benefits of our local muscadine wines. We saw their multiple 40,000 gallon storage tanks, and I believe they use even bigger storage tanks now.

Our tour guide’s name was Kay, and she followed that up with a truly memorable tasting. We were regaled with the stories behind the specific wines, the near destruction of the original mothervine located on Roanoke Island and the social responsibilities assumed by the Fussel family

Most of the wines are on the sweeter side, and they are available in many of your local stores. I would have to say that one of our favorites is Sweet Caroline. It has an excellent medium sweetness and leaves you with the satisfaction gained from partaking of a good North Carolina muscadine wine.

If you truly want satisfaction, buy a few bottles of Sweet Sox. You can get these in red and white. These bottles stand out from the rest because of the shelter dogs pictured on the bottle.  Shelter dogs? Yes, that was the original home of the dogs used for the yellow and black dogs on the labels. Your wine purchase benefits those dogs and many others. The following paragraph is quoted from the back of a Sweet Sox bottle.

Help us help them. The animals are in dire need of financial assistance to maintain the housing of our homeless animals as well as assist with the cost of spaying and neutering. With the purchase of this delicious bottle of wine, not only will you heal your heart, you will also heal your soul.

Our visit at Duplin winery ended at The Bistro. Try an awesome reuben sandwich, grilled pimento cheese or a hefty crab cake and be sure to pair it with their suggested wine. Finish off your meal with a heavenly piece of Tabatha’s cheesecake or bread pudding. You will truly enjoy your Duplin Winery and Bistro experience.

Lots Of Fun In An Out-Of-The-Way Place – A Secret Garden Winery secret garden post

The experiences of life are shaped by the people and animals involved. We visited A Secret Garden Winery in Pikeville and were delighted to see Linda Wall-Hall and her beagle, Lady.

First, we hopped on the golf cart and toured her vines, koi pond and Martin homes. Next up was our tasting. The wines here a fully organic; which means, among other things, that there are no sulfides added at the end of the production process. The result is a wine that continues the fermentation process after bottling.

My favorite wines at A Secret Garden are made from fruit. I am sure that we have all experienced wines that are “fruit infused.” Adding peach juice to a bottle of semi-sweet white wine gives a hint of flavor and an enhanced wine drinking experience. Let’s consider the pleasure that can be experienced with a wine fully made from peaches. No infusion here, this is the real deal. The usual offerings are strawberry, blueberry and peach depending on season and availability. As Linda said, you can make wine from almost any fruit so additional fruit wines may occasionally be available.

How do you like your wine – sweet, semi-sweet, dry? All of these types are offered at A Secret Garden. We tasted different vintage years of varietals such as Mary Rose Red, a wine that has won competition awards. We also tried Golden Harvest in variations ranging from sweet to dry.Do you watch Flavor NC on your local PBS station? If so, you may have seen the winery edition that included A Secret Garden Winery and the poem that Linda wrote. You can view their winery episodes on our site.

It’s A Soap Opera Mystery At Duplin Winery duplin post

Yes, we enjoy attending events at Duplin Winery, as should all patrons of the arts. If you have never been to a Duplin Murder Mystery presentation, make plans to go and purchase the tickets months in advance. This will become the standard to compare all others against.

The title for last night’s event was “Fan Of The Soap Opera” and the setting was a cast rehearsal for “All My Days And Restless Nights On The Edge Of Oblivion.” Yes, it was truly fun to listen to many of the cast members roll that full title many times throughout the play. For the dimwitted character, Tiffany Topaz, it was only “Oblivion” because she could never remember the name of the show that she was on.

You get to name your detective agency, our was “Queen Anne’s Revenge” and win a prize of your team is the first to solve the mystery with the correct suspect and motive. Our table approached this with a plan and exacted our revenge by winning the prize – Duplin’s “Going Coastal.”

The acting troupe presenting this is called It’s A Mystery out of Raleigh. They have at least twelve different mysteries, all written by Suzanne Arrington who played Charlotte Queensbury last night. The best part of the experience is that all of their presentations are original to that venue.

Want to attend the next Murder Mystery presentation at Duplin? Sorry, it’s sold out. This is April and the July presentation in three months is sold out. For those who are ready to get in on the action as soon as possible, you can attend tastings prior to July 28 and a bus group may happen to have cancelled and released some tickets. Then again, you can go ahead and purchase tickets for the show in August or two in October while they are still available.

Noni Bacca Winery – Award Winning Wines and They Teach You To Make Your Own noni bacca post

I am fairly certain that we have all experienced good and bad winery visits. Many of the things that create the type of experience include personality, knowledge and atmosphere.

At Noni Bacca, they have all of this which combined for an excellent wine tasting visit. The descriptions given were “mostly dry other than the fruit and dessert wines. I guess the adjective “dry” applied to a wine is based solely upon individual taste.

I would describe the wines we tasted as leaning more toward “semi-sweet” than dry. We tasted their Riesling, Sangiovese, Cucidati, Peach Splash, Cherub and Porta Caffe Coffee Port. All of those are medal winners as shown below (with their descriptions).

  • Riesling (Chilean grape) Bronze
  • Sangiovese (California grape) Silver and 8x Bronze
  • Cucidati (Italian Fig Cookie wine) 2x Silver and 3x Bronze
  • Peach Splash (Chardonnay with peach) Gold, 2x Silver and Bronze
  • Cherub (Pinot Noir with Black Cherry) Bronze
  • Porta Caffe Coffee Port (Coffee flavored dessert wine) Double Gold, Silver and Bronze

Depending on which timeframe their material is from, you will see an award count in the range of 150s to over 180. That is an impressive display of medal winners, with over sixty varieties of wine offered in their winery.

Do you want to make your own wine? Yes, they will teach you how to do it at home or in their store. You can even create a custom label to give your vino creation as gifts to friends and family.

Occasionally you will come across a winery owner who is skilled in other areas. Noni’s “other job” is painting. She has quality paintings available at the winery and we purchased the sunset painting shown above. Yes, the price was right!

I would highly recommend stopping in to visit Noni Bacca winery any time you are close to Wilmington. If you would like to contact them to verify hours or set up your own wine making class, their web site is and they are available on Facebook.

Their Facebook page and Instagram (no posts)

Coming soon in our app

Information for wineries, restaurants and shops. You will have the resources gathered in one place to plan your winery hopper trip and research the chosen destinations. This research includes the reviews and opinions of other visitors from social media and review sites.